MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — His West Virginia team won’t go bowling and statistically ranks seventh or worse in the Big 12 in 22 of 29 major offense/defense/special teams categories. Oh, and it suffered the ultimate ignominy of losing to Kansas. By double-digits.

Yet Dana Holgorsen contends the 2013 Mountaineers—currently 4-7—have shown improvement over the 2012 squad that climbed as him as No. 5 in the AP poll before finishing 7-6.

“I think we’re a better football team this year than last year, minus maybe one or two guys,” the coach said Tuesday.

Granted, those one or two guys were monumental difference-makers: the program’s all-time leading passer (Geno Smith) and its all-time leading tackle eluder (Tavon Austin). And we understand that wins-losses aren’t the only metric by which to evaluate a team, though in the course of evaluating a coach, they’re awfully crucial.

Holgorsen’s assertion that this team is better than the last—despite the offensive inconsistencies, the shuffling quarterbacks and the repeated defensive breakdowns—more likely was about finding morsels of progress in an otherwise frustrating season. He can point to improved team chemistry and even added depth, though a rash of late-season injuries left the two-deep thin at several spots.

Yes, it was projected to be a rebuilding year at WVU. Yes, many programs can eke out six wins despite rebuilding pains. And yes, Holgorsen might still be right about this team—it just doesn’t feel very apparent after losing four of five to fall out of bowl contention.

Saying that either Clint Trickett or Paul Millard will start the season finale at quarterback, Holgorsen ruled out Ford Childress after Tuesday morning’s practice.

“It won’t be Ford,” the coach said. “He’s just not ready (though) he could go in and piece it together if we needed to.”

Childress tore a pectoral muscle in a 37-0 loss at Maryland on Sept. 21 and hasn’t played since, experiencing intermittent setbacks with soreness. The redshirt freshman Childress was 1-1 as a starter this season, while Trickett stands 2-4 and Millard 1-2.

Trickett was cleared for contact after sustaining a concussion in the loss to Texas on Nov. 9. The junior also admitted Tuesday to hiding a concussion he suffered against K-State in the first half of a 35-12 loss on Oct. 26.

Holgorsen said Trickett and Millard will split reps this week.

“They’re trying hard. They’re competing. I feel like we can with either one—I really do,” Holgorsen said. “Clint’s proven to where he’s won a couple of Big 12 games. Paul’s proven where he could in there and run the offense effectively if he stays within the scheme.”

In a less-serious moment, Holgorsen joked: “Maybe we’ll just rotate them—try to go every other play. We haven’t tried that yet.”

Holgorsen called Iowa State “without a doubt, the most competitive 2-9 team in the country. That’s for certain.” Gee, wonder if Paul Rhoads would like that engraved on a trophy.

The Cyclones opened the season by losing to FCS member Northern Iowa and have gone 2-9 overall—those wins coming over Tulsa and Kansas (teams that are a combined 6-16 themselves). Yet coaches always find a way to compliment opponents.

“People can say what they want about how they’re no good, (but) they’ve been in plenty of games,” Holgorsen said.

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  • Troll is back

    What do you idiots know you're not coaching this team. Just because you think differently doesn't mean it's not true. I guess one day when he proves you idiots wrong hopefully you will go away.

    • C

      Dude, I wish I could get paid what he does to do as little as he does. Looks like he really proved us wrong though, huh?

    • Hailey

      You are correct Troll, the team has looked better and better each week....

    • WSC

      Hope to be proved wrong!

  • GregG

    Holy cow, I can't believe he just said that! Talk about a mental hygiene case. The FDA had better pull Red Bull of the shelves, that stuff isn't safe.

    • WSC

      Head coach? I don't think so! Is this what 2 million buys! Better team than last year? I think DH needs to change professions, he needs to become a politician with that spin!

  • WSC

    Did he really say that?

    • WSC

      Maybe,maybe,maybe! We will just rotate them?

  • David

    As my grandpa would say, "tell that to a mule and he will kick you in the head."

    Let me explain how this works DH. It is about wins and losses. Win the conference, will all your games and we couldn't care less if you improve from one year to the next.

    • Chuck Farley

      Speak for yourself. Some fans understand that it's going to take time for any coach to win in the Big 12. We're not the tallest midget any longer as we were in Big East. We'll be lucky to win the Big 12 once in a decade yet you want to make winning it every year the measuring stick? Has a mule kicked you in your head?

      • zero tolerance

        Pick up the needle, the Big East Excuse, the Big East Excuse, the Big East Excuse, the Big East Excuse, the Big East......................

        • Doug

          Pick up the needle? Are you writing from your nursing home?

        • mose

          I think you're all screwed up in the about being a respectful WVU are all knuckleheads....thank you very much....

  • zero tolerance

    All work and no play makes Dana a very dull boy. A l l w o r k a n d n o p l a y m a k e s D a n a a v e r y d u l l b o y. A-l-l-w-o-r-k-a-n-d-n-o-p-l-a-y-m-a-k-e-s-D-a-n-a-a-v-e-r-y-d-u-l-l-b-o-y. aLL wORK aND nO pLAY mAKES dANA a vERY dULL bOY. allworkandnoplaymakesDanaaverydullboy. yob llud yrev a anaD sekam yalp on dna krow lla.

  • grif

    With a salary of over 2 million yearly he doesn't care if WVU wins or loses

  • MoMoney

    WVU has fine mental health facilities. With comments like that from Holgorsen, its time for Ollie to commit and check in Holgorsen to one of those facilities. He's certifiable dilusional.
    Holgorsen was complaining about facilities, let him get a good look inside one.

    • Hailey

      Mo,large fry with my order please

  • pghmountaineer

    Roger D., Great comment! :)

  • RogerD

    In addition to Coach Holgerson saying that this year's football team is better than last year's, he also said that you can keep your healthcare plan if you like your healthcare plan.

    • appikid

      LMAO! True

  • Linda Hickman

    Too much Red Bull !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rick

    I agree Cutty. Unfortunately, I think our qb for next year is not here currently. Crest would be a true freshman and might be too much to ask of him, but I did see we offered a juco qb in cali for next year. At least Dana is not standing pat and is continuing to look.

    • WVU4EVER

      Yes but they would both need to be here for spring ball to learn the offense. and Crest has already said that he would not be graduating early.

      • PaulM

        The JUCO QB out of California graduates early and plans to visit Morgantown Dec 6. He will be here for Spring ball.

        • WVU4EVER

          Yes, Thank you he should be ready to compete come this fall with Trickett

          • farm kid

            here is the deal. red shirt both the juco and crest in 2014. play any present Qb 2014. the two red shirts will us four years of seasoned Qbs, this is similar to what Baylor did with rg111, foles and the present Qb.

        • Hailey

          But it takes 2 yrs for a QB to learn the offense

          • WVU4EVER

            No, that's not so it should only take 1 full spring.

      • WSC

        It ONLY takes 3 days!

        • WVU4EVER

          It takes 3 days to install. But that is far from learning the offense, the qb has to learn 8 different formations and 10 different plays off each formations and that is not counting all the audibles off of each set and formation and all this is called in through hand signals and the qb has to know all 80 signals and relay them to each player and know where to position them

  • leroy jethro gibbs

    definitely need a new quarterback and o line

  • wvman75

    I love the way some people feel they've been put in charge of hiring, firing, AND coaching. Delusion is a wonderful thing.

  • Funky B

    He's confusing this football team with his bank account.

  • cutty77

    Dana let me remind you of something. There is no future in The Past.I myself think you deserve 2 more years,but if you stick with Trickett next year again. You both will leave at the same time,going different places.

    • WVU4EVER

      I don't know who you would start other than Trickett. After watching Millard two weeks ago I would never play him again and Ford can't throw a deep ball. He throws it on a line drive, I think next year Trickett will be much much better once he has the spring to learn the offense. and can also run and keep the play alive.

      • WVU4EVER

        Also a year in the weight room to put on about 15 pounds of muscle

        • cutty77

          @ WVU4EVER,
          Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again,but expecting different results.. Happy Thanksgiving to All.

          • Alum

            I believe many of the posts on this site meet your definition.